Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Christmas: The Word Became Flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
Matthew’s Christmas story begins with a genealogy and tells of Mary and Joseph, of angels, dreams, and wise men. Mark begins with Old Testament prophecy and John the Baptist. Luke tells of Zechariah and Elizabeth, of Mary and Joseph, of census and stable and manger, of angels declaring and shepherds beholding, of Anna and Simeon.

John begins with the Word.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:1-5).
The author of Hebrews puts it this way:
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Hebrews 1:1-3)
There is only one Word.
  • This Word has always been with God.
  • This Word is that which was spoken by the prophets, for their message is one.
  • This Word is that by which God made the worlds—“framed” the worlds, as Hebrews 11:3 puts it. Nothing was made without this Word.
  • This Word is the brilliant expression of the glory of God, the exact image of His substance.
  • This Word is the power that sustains and holds all things together.
  • This Word is the Son of the Father, and heir to all things.
  • This Word is full of life and light. “For the Word of God is living and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12). “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).
We cannot understand Christmas unless we understand this. For it is this same Word that John describes in John 1:14:
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
It was necessary, in order for the Word to purge us of our sins, that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, to bridge the gap between us and God. Having purged our sins by His death on the cross, the Word ascended to heaven and is now seated at the right hand of the Father. Because the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, all who receive Him are seated with Him at the right hand of Majesty (Ephesians 2:6).

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. This is the unique gift of the Father which we celebrate in this season. It is the glory we behold, the grace we need and the truth we seek — all given to us in abundance.

(See also The Memra Became Flesh)

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